Move boosts commercial broadcasters

MADRID — Taking a leaf out of Nicolas Sarkozy’s book, Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced Tuesday a “drastic reduction” in advertising on Spanish pubcaster RTVE.

Unlike Gallic pubcaster France Televisions, which is core financed by state subsidy, advertising reps the single most important financing source at RTVE.

RTVE’s ads revs totalled Euros557.1 ($742.1 million) million last year.

The reduction in RTVE ad revs will be included in a new Spanish Audiovisual Law, which still has to be approved by parliament.

Announcing the slashed ad revs to his own socialist party, Zapatero did not go into detail about just what a “drastic reduction” entailed, or whether he would go as far as Sarkozy, nixing all primetime advertising at RTVE.

Zapatero’s government had previously announced its aim of scything advertising from 11 minutes to 9 minutes an hour at RTVE by next year.

A “drastic” cut, or so the market appears to have taken it, could go much further.

Shares at Telecinco and Antena 3 rose 6% and 9% Tuesday to $9.6 and $5.5 through mid-afternoon trading.

Spain faces the most acute of TV advertising crisis of Europe’s “Big Five” countries.

First quarter TV ad revs could have fallen by as much as 40% year on year, according to Screen Digest.

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